Going back to school as an adult can be intimidating. You may worry about being the oldest person in a class full of teenagers or the cost of tuition. Plus, can you balance school with family and work responsibilities? If you have these concerns, you may wonder if finishing your degree is worth it.
The good news is that going back to school at any age has many benefits. Getting a degree can help you achieve career goals and enrich your personal life. These advantages can make finishing your education well worth the time and effort. Keep reading to explore the top reasons to go back to school and the biggest benefits of completing your degree.
Why Go Back to School as an Adult?
The media typically depicts college students as young people fresh out of high school, but many adults start or return to school later in life. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, around 34% of college students were over 25 in 2021. There are many reasons why adults go back to school.
Most obviously, many people finish their college education to increase their earning potential. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the median weekly earnings for workers over the age of 25 with different levels of education:
- High school diploma: $853 weekly
- Associate degree: $1,005 weekly
- Bachelor’s degree: $1,432 weekly
Over a lifetime, people with degrees can make significantly more money than people who only get a high school diploma. A higher salary provides more financial security and allows families to better support their children on their educational journeys, leading to a cycle of success.
Also, many adults get a degree to unlock new job opportunities. For example, you could earn a computer science degree to transition into a software developer or data engineer career. Or you could use your degree to get a promotion at your current job.
Finally, personal reasons motivate many adults to return to college. People often want to finish their degree so they can:
- Set a positive example for their family and community
- Feel proud of their accomplishments
- Build professional networks
- Prepare for graduate programs
The Benefits of Going Back to College as an Adult Learner
Going back to school at 30 or older can seem challenging, but continuing your education can improve many aspects of your life. Here are five benefits of completing a college degree as an older adult.
1. Re-Tool & Skill-Up
A college education is a great way to expand your mind and skills. You’ll learn about the latest developments in your field of study, like breakthroughs in healthcare or technology. Additionally, you’ll encounter new perspectives as you complete coursework and interact with students from different backgrounds and generations.
Plus, college classes allow you to develop valuable new skills. You’ll likely learn how to navigate online courses and create digital projects like videos and PowerPoints. These experiences can be challenging, especially if you’re not tech-savvy. However, you’ll gain confidence as you overcome obstacles and boost your skills.
Going back to school can help you take your career to the next level. According to a 2022 survey by Cengage Group, 62% of employers require a college degree for all entry-level jobs. As a result, earning a degree is one of the best ways to open up new career options.
A college education can help you achieve a successful career by deepening your knowledge of your industry. For example, a line cook could get promoted to chef after earning a culinary degree. Or you can pursue an entirely new career path by choosing a major unrelated to your current work.
3. Help Is Available
Many people worry about the cost of going back to school as an adult, but there are grants and scholarships that can make college more affordable. You may be eligible for need-based grants from the federal government, like a Federal Pell Grant, and workforce development programs, like Mississippi’s Skills2Work, that helps adults skill up. Plus, colleges and universities often offer assistance for nontraditional students.
Additionally, many adults who left college before completing a degree can qualify for the Complete 2 Compete (C2C) program and receive benefits like coach support, fast-track degree programs and a renewable grant. This initiative provides a back-to-school grant to help adults afford to return and complete their degrees and personal coaching to help them plan their degree programs.
4. You Have an Edge
Adult learners often feel nervous about being in class with traditional students, but your age and experience can give you a leg up in the classroom. The expertise and practical skills you’ve developed in your professional life can aid you in college. For example, experience collaborating with teams at your job can translate to success with academic group projects.
Also, adult learners have often mastered life skills that many traditional students are still developing, like time management and self-direction. Balancing multiple stressful classes will seem like a breeze after years of coordinating your kids’ extracurricular activities, and emailing a professor is easier when you have experience messaging coworkers and bosses.
5. You Can Pursue Your Passion
Going back to school as an adult lets you focus on the topics and skills you care about the most. For example, a nursing degree could help you land a dream job in the medical field. Or you can choose to expand your artistic abilities with a creative writing or pottery degree.
The C2C Program Can Help You Finish a Degree – Here’s How
There are countless benefits of going back to school, whether you’re going back to school at 25 or 45. You can set yourself up for a successful career and achieve personal satisfaction by earning a degree.
The C2C Grant provides financial assistance for Mississippi adults who want to finish their degrees. Most eligible participants receive a $1,000 grant each semester. The C2C program also features custom degree options and personalized coaching to support and encourage you through to graduation. You can learn more about the C2C program and see if C2C is right for you.